GamerSushi Asks: On Reviews?

grade-sheetOne of the things we strive for here at GamerSushi is to include you guys and keep this as democratic as possible (within reason of course) in order to make this an awesome community. As you all know, one of the things we do here is review games, most often the bigger titles that are hitting the market.

So, in regards to our reviews, I have a few questions. The first one: what do you guys think of our rubric? While it used to please us, lately we’ve been having some issues with it. For instance, a few months back, I gave Resident Evil 5 an A instead of an A+ simply because by our rubric, it wasn’t “one of the greatest games of all time”. However, looking back, I still desperately want to give it an A+, rubric be damned.

That’s just one small example out of the many, but I think something about our rubric is what’s making most of our game scores fall in the B+ to A range. I’d like to fix this however possible, and we’re open to suggestions from you guys. I’m convinced that letter grades are the best thing to do, but I’m ready to hear out other thoughts.

Second question: what do you guys think of us going back and permanently adjusting review scores? I know that in some communities, the site gets vilified for changing scores, but personally, I think that more sites ought to go back and re-evaluate games months after the fact. Off the top of my head, I think that I scored Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead and Metal Gear Solid 4 all far too high, and would like to change them.

So, tell us your thoughts on those. We’re gearing up for some changes around here (hence the less frequent posts over the last few weeks), so there will be more of these kinds of questions coming. Go!

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

11 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: On Reviews?”

  1. Well, I’m glad that you brought this up. I remember that not to long ago, we had a conversation about how ridiculous it is that sites like gamespot and IGN give games such generous ratings. A lot of people responded by saying “I won’t even play/buy a game unless it gets atleast an 8.5 or higher”…

    We got into a discussions about “everyone has their own opinion” and etc etc. So I think a refined system could help you guys. I’ve played games that have recieved 5’s and 6’s and absolutely loved them BECAUSE they were up my alley. I’ve played games that have recieved 9’s and 10’s and thought they were garbage: BECAUSE they weren’t for me.

    By Gamersushi rubric: A+ = “One of the greatest games ever. Play this game or stop being a gamer.” I feel like that is quite an objective statement. You guys yourselves have pointed out that you only really have time to play AAA titles, because [duh] you’re well informed… So imagine if you didn’t compare all the games to the “crap” out there, but instead, the ‘worst’ AAA titles.

    At the end of the day, no matter who’s reviewing it, some percent of bias leaks into the review. That’s innevitable. But I think instead of just talking about the game and how much fun / how bad it was, you could say “in comparison to Drake’s Fortune” or, “It’s no GTA, but it’s just a bit better than Mafia”.

    maybe some direct references could help people who have played those other AAA titles?

  2. I agree with Julez, since you only have time to play games that why not have a rating system where a D did not mean it is a terrible game but that compared to other Genre defining titles it could use some refinement.

    I think that going back and re-reviewing your reviews is a good idea, it would be cool to have a monthly re-review where you go back to games you reviewed two months ago and re-evaluated there score based on how much you still played them/their lasting appeal.

    Can’t wait to see the new stuff you guys have planed. The reason I love this site is because you guys have managed to set the foundation for an awesome community that (so far) has managed to leave fanboyism at the door, actually think through their comments, and have a good time discussing “that thing” we all know and love that is gaming.

  3. I find grading systems completely useless.

    A title you think is A+ could be something I don’t like and I might love a game that is rated C-.

    Instead, you should just say what the game is about, what is good about it, and what it’s flaws are. Let the players decide for themselves what they find important.

    Lets use S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky as an example. Many people dislike it because it is a really hard game. People have difficulty finishing it on the easiest mode.
    But it is one of my favorite games because of the feeling of the world and that you actually have to avoid combat sometimes.

  4. Karhax:

    That is what the text of the review is for. The grade at the end is just an numeric or letter indicator.

    The important part is the text. Scores don’t matter to me, I read the text and since I know what games I like, I can usually decide if I will be happy with the game.

    We welcome all suggestions, btw.

  5. I’m more of a fan of a +/o/- (Plus Neutral Minus) system i.e

    + Good Selection of Weapons
    + Nice Soundtrack
    o Multiplayer is only good with friends
    – Dodgy driving sections
    – Bad boss fight

  6. I’m a fan of letter grades, but as it stands, I think we use too many. The “+” and “-” is fine, but we’re Sith. We deal in absolutes.

    I think we should cut the math and just leave it as “A B C D F”; that way, a game that’s a B- on our scale would end up being a “C”, which is firmly in the middle of the road. The more minutia you get into, the more wiggle room there is for fault to be found between your text (the MOST important part) and the score.

    Like any system though, there are imperfections, but I think that the more basic rubric you have the less contention there is.

  7. @ Mitch, if you have 5 letters then stars would work just as well. That’s what I love about X-Play’s scoring system: 5 is GET GET GET 4 is seriously consider if I like the look of it (eg. Borderlands) 3 is check around first and base my opinion on previous installments, demos, etc and 2/1 you can guess. As it stands I think the present system is fine but if you could set up a seperate section where the reviews are seperated from everything else. Here you could look over all reviews (or the bundle of reviews) with their original score and their updated score. Just a suggestion.

  8. Also, when I review games, I try to review what the game DOES.

    Not what I want it to do or what I wish it would do. A lot of people seem to do that. Review the product in hand, is what I try to do.

  9. @ Anthony, I’ve noticed that reviews are plagued by that and sometimes when I play a game I start to think of what they COULD have done. But if it’s something minor I usually get used to it anyway.
    Purely to be awkward I went back over your R&C review trying to find a bit where you said ‘It could have… If only it… etc.’ so I could say ‘HA! You hypocrite!’ but, alas, you did not give me an opening. Well played.

  10. Well since you guys only buy games that you know will be good maybe you can say A exceeds expectations greatly, B exceeds expectations, C meets expectations, D falls below… etc.

    I would believe if you do change your system going back and changing the scores would be good.

  11. I don’t have any serious qualms about a number system but the letter grades are great but the +, – are unnecessary. As for going back and changing I say do it.

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